Nature News

Harmful Makeup Ingredients: Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics

Did you know the average woman uses about 15 to 20 cosmetic products a day? Unfortunately, most makeup includes bad and even harmful chemicals. Studies show that the skin absorbs more than 60 percent of the toxic chemicals in cosmetics, averaging up to five pounds of unneeded chemical absorption every year. Children absorb 40-50% more than adults, meaning they are at a much higher risk for medical conditions when they grow up. So is it bad to wear makeup?

A few years back, there was a health scare when it was discovered that certain lipsticks contained traces of lead. Lead?!?! In something we are buying from a store and applying to our lips? The skin is our body's largest organ, and while it serves as a barrier, it absorbs certain amounts of chemicals in skin care products. In fact, some experts state that the absorption through the skin is more harmful than by mouth. Certain chemical ingredients have the ability to break down the skin barrier to get into the bloodstream. While the body can filter out most bad chemicals, some build up in tissues and organs. The chemicals can cause various health conditions, including skin allergies, reproductive issues, premature aging, birth abnormalities, and even cancer.

Harmful Ingredients in Cosmetics

Most mainstream cosmetics, makeup, and skin care products on today's market contain a bad variety of irritants, allergens, and carcinogenic chemicals. In fact, a moisturizer can have up to 30 synthetic chemicals and perfume up to 400 elements. Among the main bad guys on the list of ingredients are parabens, preservatives often used in deodorant, shampoo, and soap. Parabens are commonly used to stop the growth of bacteria, but they also mimic the effects of hormones, which can lead to the growth of tumors. Another harmful ingredient is sodium lauryl sulphate, which helps products like shampoo and bubble bath lather up, but it can cause skin irritation.

Hazardous and Bad Ingredients in Makeup

It is essential to pay close attention to the ingredients in your skin care products by thoroughly reading the labels and understanding what ingredients to steer clear from. Two of the worst chemicals found in many cheap, low cost skin care products are parabens (what are parabens?) and petrolatum, a bad but common chapstick ingredient. If some makeup or cosmetic contains harmful chemicals, fragrances, preservatives and colors, there is a good chance those elements will make their way into your bloodstream. A good rule of thumb is if you have trouble pronouncing an ingredient or know if from chemistry class, it is best to avoid the product. Examples of harmful elements include sulfates, formaldehyde, phthalates, triclosan, olefin sulfonate, potassium cocoyl glutamate, benzoyl peroxide, butyl acetate, and phenoxyethanol.

In addition to avoiding certain ingredients, there are some bad cosmetics that should just be avoided altogether. Examples include hair dyes, heavily scented products, skin lighteners with hydroquinone, hand soaps containing triclosan, hair products with isobutene, skin creams with petroleum, and anti-aging creams with AHA and BHA acids.

Safe Makeup

What you put on your skin is just as important as what you eat, and a good way to think is imagining the makeup or cosmetic you are applying to your skin inside your body. If you do not feel comfortable, try a different product. A good way to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that are potentially damaging to your body is using safe makeup with fewer products with simpler elements. Determine which cosmetics you can go without, and choose ones with fewer ingredients, opting for ones that are not hard to pronounce. You also want to avoid makeup and products that contain fragrance. Fragrances commonly contain a large amount of chemicals to provide the favorable aroma. If you need a good smelling product, try one that contains natural fragrances, such as essential oils.

Another way to protect your skin from some toxic chemicals in cosmetics is to use organic skin care products with all-natural ingredients that won't shock or harm your skin and body. MoreNature offers skin care products that do not contain harmful elements featuring ingredients from nature that you know and trust, like coconut and cinnamon. Our skin care products are 100% vegan and paraben free, containing at least 70 percent pure organic ingredients.

Magnesium for Blood Pressure: Magnesium Supplement Health Benefits

In our "fast food nation," it's too easy to not get the recommended daily amounts of most vitamins in minerals into our diets, and that includes magnesium, a less talked about mineral but one equally important to keeping in good health. Whether taken through magnesium rich foods or through a supplement, magnesium offers a number of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.

Magnesium Deficiency

Many health research studies have shown that most Americans are not getting enough magnesium. In fact, one study reported that as many as 68 percent of Americans have a magnesium deficiency, with the average person only consuming one fourth of the required amount of magnesium to maintain a healthy body. The recommended minimum daily amount of magnesium in the U.S. is about 320 mg for females and over 400 mg for males. The doctor recommended daily amounts of magnesium are between 500 and 700 mg daily. However, many Americans only take in about 225 mg of magnesium a day.

Magnesium is essential for good health and well-being. Mostly found in the skeleton and muscle tissues of the body, it is needed for more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, such as creating adenosine triphosphate for energy, relaxing blood vessels, controlling calcium metabolism, and regulating blood sugar. Since our bodies are unable to make magnesium, it is necessary to either eat magnesium rich foods every day or take a regular magnesium supplement.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

There are many factors contributing to a magnesium deficiency, especially in America. You may not realize it, but soda and carbonated drinks are an enemy of magnesium, as are alcoholic beverages. Chronic health conditions can also cause magnesium deficiency, like irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders. Emotional stress and overexercising can also cause magnesium depletion. Other causes of a magnesium deficiency are less obvious. For instance, the intake of high doses of zinc and protein supplements may interfere with the body's ability to absorb magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium deficiency results in various symptoms. Early signs of a magnesium deficiency include nausea and vomiting, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite. Here is a more complete list of magnesium deficiency symptoms:

  • muscle cramps
  • constipation
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • digestive problems
  • seizures
  • kidney stones
  • high blood pressure

Magnesium for Blood Pressure & Hypertension

New research indicates that magnesium rich foods or a supplement may reduce high blood pressure. One third of Americans suffers from high blood pressure or hypertension and may not even realize it. One out of three people have hypertension, or high blood pressure. High blood pressure left untreated can cause a stroke or heart and cardiovascular problems. If your blood pressure is above 140/80, taking a magnesium supplement or adding magnesium to your diet wherever you can is not only a good idea, it could save your life. Magnesium is good for high blood pressure because it helps dilate blood vessels and even dissolve blood clots. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/80 you are still in the high blood pressure danger zone, so taking magnesium will definitely benefit your health.

Magnesium Rich Foods: Foods for Magnesium Deficiency

There are many magnesium rich foods out there that you should be eating regularly, whether you have high blood pressure or not. Almonds, soybeans, oatmeal, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews, and brown rice are all magnesium rich. Seaweed is not only magnesium rich, it is also full of another mineral supplement, iodine, you should be taking regularly for good health. Barley, shredded wheat, sweet potatoes, peanuts, corn, blackberries, broccoli, carrots, white fish, chicken, tomatoes, eggs, bananas, and spinach. To make sure you are getting adequate amounts of magnesium, it is important to eat a varied diet full of whole foods and green leafy vegetables. One key point is the fact that magnesium levels often depend on the soil where crops are grown. Organic foods may contain more magnesium due to the reduced use of fertilizers containing nitrogen and potassium.

Magnesium Supplement Health Benefits

Magnesium benefits many important bodily functions and maintaining a healthy level is necessary for bone formation, producing proteins, maintaining normal function of muscles and nerves, body temperature regulation, energy release from muscles, and proper calcium absorption. Magnesium can also help prevent stroke, diabetes, bone loss, and heart attack, and provide therapeutic benefits for type 2 diabetes, premenstrual syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Furthermore, magnesium plays a part in detoxification processes and it helps prevent the effects of toxins on the body, such as metals and environmental chemicals.

What is the Best Magnesium Supplement to Take?

Try to stuff your diet with as many magnesium rich foods as possible. However, if you are not sure you can realistically eat as many magnesium rich foods as you should, a magnesium dietary supplement may be your best option. MoreNature offers one of the best magnesium supplements to take, a 200mg daily supplement that contains magnesium stearate, vegetable stearins, micosolle, titanium dioxide, slicia, cellulose, and modified cellulose gum.

Magnesium should be taken with calcium because is it essential for proper absorption. While we have heard over and over about the importance of calcium in the diet, the fact is magnesium is equally important. When your body does not have enough magnesium, it produces more pituitary thyroid hormone, which prevents absorbed calcium from use in bones and causes it to calcify in the soft tissues.

Now you know that magnesium has benefits for many health problems, especially high blood pressure and hypertension. Now that you know, you have to do something about it. It's difficult to follow a good diet every day, so your best option is eating as many magnesium rich foods as you can and taking a magnesium supplement whenever you feel that your diet is not as good as it could be.

Is Chapstick Bad for You?

Young girls love chapstick, especially flavored lip balms. Big chapstick brands like Lip Smackers and Soft Lips have made a fortune selling a variety of different flavors of lip gloss that taste so good that kids are actually sometimes tempted to eat it. Is it bad to eat chapstick? Is chapstick bad for you?

Is Carmex Lip Balm Bad for You?

While some lip moisturizer and gloss has a sweet flavor that just can't be natural, other chapsticks like Carmex, Savex or Blistex have a more subtle "natural" taste that makes people assume that these lip balms are good or OK to eat. So is Carmex lip balm bad for you? Obviously, Carmex is a big chapstick company. For the record, all of the ingredients in Carmex chapstick are approved by the FDA and legal to use. However, some ingredients approved by the FDA and found in many store brand chapsticks have raised the concern of some health experts.

Ingredients in Chapstick

Most lip balm you will find in the store commonly includes the following ingredients: artificial flavors and petrolatum. We hate to break it to you, but many of the "best" lip gloss flavors that taste like fruit and candy do not contain real fruit or sugar, but are made from pure chemicals that you "eat" every time you lick your lips. Worse than that, most lip moisturizer contains paraben or petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly. Petroleum? You mean like the stuff in gasoline? How can that be safe to put on your lips or "eat"? Unfortunately, health research have found that 1 out of every 14 skin care products contains petrolatum, one of many potentially harmful makeup ingredients. Chapstick brand has also received criticism for including oxybenzone, a chemical compound that is supposed to absorb UV rays but may actually become carcinogenic on the skin, which may even lead to the eventual development of skin cancer. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad and possibly even toxic chemicals like oxybenzone and petrolatum included as ingredients in many popular chapstick brands. The FDA hasn't come right out and banned any of these chemicals yet, but the end results of coming into contact with some of these suspect chapstick ingredients on a daily basis is still unknown. So what do you do if you have dry or chapped lips?

What is the Best Chapstick? Organic & Natural Lip Balm with No Chemicals

So if we shouldn't use lip balm that contains artificial flavors or petrolatum, what is the best chapstick? Basically, the best chapstick and lip moisturizer is made from all natural or even organic ingredients that are actually safe to eat. Avoid any chapstick that contains artificial flavors or petroleum jelly, and don't buy them for your children. That kind of chapstick is bad for you (or at least very well could be). The side effects of petrolatum are still unknown, but many have seen allergic symptoms like rashes and eczema after using products containing petrolatum.

Coconut Oil for Lips

If you want your kids to use the best moisturizer for lips that is all natural and organic, you can try coconut oil, perhaps the most natural and simplest way to moisturize the lips. Coconut oil is a good and chemical free alternative to chapstick that has a soft, subtle flavor and a buttery, smooth consistency that feels great on the lips. Because coconut oil is natural and organic, it can keep your lips moisturized a lot longer than petrolatum or other chemicals can. Along with coconut oil for lips, pure beeswax is another organic alternative, one of the best natural lip balms nature has to offer and long lasting. Because of its sturdy thick consistency, many argue that beeswax is actually the best natural/ organic ingredient for moisturizing the lips.

Beeswax Lip Balm is the Best Chapstick for Dry Lips

Many of us have heard of Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, but if you want the most unprocessed and natural lip balm, try MoreNature's bee lip balm, made from pure beeswax locally harvested in Florida and flavored with the organic natural flavors of eucalyptus, citrus, spearmint and an unflavored chapstick that really brings out the natural subtle and sweet flavor of honey bees wax. Perhaps the best chapstick for dry lips, our bee lip balm is obviously petrolatum and paraben free, made from a limited list of healthy ingredients you can count with your hands. As an added bonus, our natural beeswax lip balm is much more to safe to eat because it includes only natural and organic ingredients. As cheap as Burt's Bees beeswax chapstick, why not give a natural lip balm that is even more organic, natural and unprocessed a chance?

Is Chapstick Addictive? Is Lip Balm Bad for You?

So is chapstick bad for you? Depends. At the end of the day, why do you buy chapstick? If you're buying lip balm for all the good (and artificial) flavors, you really should give up the chemicals, retrain your palette, and switch to a more natural and organic alternative for your health. On the other hand, if you buy chapstick as a lip moisturizer, you can actually use your lip gloss less often and improve your health and the overall moisture of your lips if you switch to an all natural lip balm. If you buy flavored lip gloss and lip balm from the impulse rack at your local supermarket, there's just a very good chance that you're not getting the best chapstick for dry lips. If you want the healthiest and best of really anything, you usually have to go out of your way a little to get it, especially when it comes to your health.

What is Oxybenzone in Sunscreen? Danger, Concerns & Safety

According to a recent study conducted by CNN, only 25% of sunscreen on the market right now can protect your skin from sunburn without using potentially harmful or toxic chemical skin care ingredients. This means that most of the sunscreen out there uses ingredients that might be a danger to the safety of your health, including the chemical oxybenzone. What is oxybenzone in sunscreen? Find out about the concerns regarding the use of oxybenzone in sunblock.

Sunscreen Ingredients: What is Oxybenzone? Why Is It Used?

Oxybenzone has been approved by the FDA since 1978 and is used in over half of the sunscreen available for sale today, and is also one of the common chapstick ingredients. Chances are, you currently use a sunscreen with oxybenzone. If Oxybenzone is approved by the FDA, why is it bad to use? There is a growing debate over the use of the chemical compound in the last few years. Some respectable sources say that oxybenzone is one of the only sunscreen ingredients that really works at protecting the skin from absorbing ultraviolet rays.

Oxybenzone Danger & Concerns

Oxybenzone sounds like a pretty good sunscreen ingredient, right? Don't UV rays cause skin cancer? Well, there are two sides to the oxybenzone debate. While some government groups believe that we need oxybenzone in our sunscreen to protect us from UV rays, new toxicology research is raising some concerns and revealing the possible danger of oxybenzone. Studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group have found that in some cases we can actually absorb oxybenzone through our skin. Absorbing this chemical compound through the skin introduces new danger, possibly leading to the development of hormone imbalances, cell damage and maybe even skin cancer. Wait a minute--a sunscreen ingredient used to protect us from skin cancer can actually cause skin cancer itself? Suddenly oxybenzone doesn't sound so good after all.

Sunscreen/ Oxybenzone Allergy Concerns

Not only does oxybenzone raise concerns in connection with the development of skin cancer, but some dermatologists have also noted a rise in the number of patients claiming to have a specific "sunscreen allergy." This growing sunscreen allergy may very well be an allergy to oxybenzone, an increasingly common sunscreen ingredient. According to an official 1994 medical study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 35 of 283 patients with suspected photodermatosis actually had an oxybenzone allergy, with most of these due to using a daily skin care product that contained oxybenzone. While the final verdict on the safety of oxybenzone is still up in the air, if you are concerned for the safety of your skin, you might want to try switching to sunblock without oxybenzone.

Oxybenzone vs. PABA

Like Oxybenzone, PABA was also approved by the FDA and introduced as a common sunscreen ingredient and absorber of UV rays in the 1970s. However, the number of allergic reactions and negative effects of PABA were more dramatic and easier to diagnose and trace. Kind of like MSG, bad media attention and publicity eventually caused PABA to become less popular and not very commonly used in sunblock today. The dangers of oxybenzone, however, are less easy to trace, so the safety of oxybenzone is still up for debate.

Increase Your Safety With All Natural & Biodegradable Sunscreens Without Oxybenzone

If you really want to increase your safety while out in the sun, try using a biodegradable sunscreen without oxybenzone. Dermatologists recommend opting for oxybenzone free sunscreens that offer broad spectrum protection. Don't immediately assume that the highest SPF sunblock you can find is automatically the best: research shows that you don't get that much more protection when you switch from an SPF 30 to SPF50. Not only that, but the higher the SPF, the more oxybenzone is likely included in the sunscreen.

More important than SPF, go for all natural biodegradable sunscreen that contains mostly organic ingredients, like this SPF30 waterproof and 92% organic sunscreen. If you want to buy the best all natural sunscreen for the face, opt for organic facial sunscreen in particular.

Organic, biodegradable sunscreen doesn't cost that much more than most sunblocks you buy in the store. Cut down on the risk of skin cancer and the danger of absorbing oxybenzone and increase your safety all at the same time.

What Causes Ears to Itch? Natural Home Remedies For Itchy Ears

If you've ever had itchy ears, you know how frustrating and irritating they can be. Some people are prone to having ear problems and have to deal with dry itchy ears on an ongoing basis, but most of us have had an itch in the ear at least once in our lives. What causes ears to itch? What do we do about ear itches? What is a good natural home remedy for itchy ears?

Itchy ears causes

What causes itchy ears? Unfortunately, people with naturally dry and small ear canals are more likely to have a problem with itchy ears than others. My old friend John seems to constantly have ear problems, more so after he swims or is in the water. According to him, he used to have swimmer's ear only after he spent a day in the pool or in the ocean, but he says it eventually got so bad that he couldn't even submerge his head in the bath once without feeling a little "itch" the next day. If you have inner ear problems, you know the seemingly endless cycle: first the ear hurts, then it clogs up, then you can't hear anything, and then finally the itching begins and sometimes doesn't let up for days, even weeks. Are there any other things that can cause ear itches?

Itchy ears can be caused by either too much or too little ear wax in the ear canal. If your ears close up a lot so you have trouble earing, you probably have an earwax build up. One all natural way you can treat an earwax build up is by using beeswax ear cones. All you have to do is stick the ear wax cone into your ear and light the other side of the cone with a match. The heat from the fire will actually draw some of the excess earwax out of your ear canal, giving you a little faster relief. I don't recommend using the beeswax ear cone candle by yourself, though: better get a friend to help you.

Itchy ears from Allergies

Sometimes allergies and itchy ears are related. It might sound strange, but my friend John says that constantly dealing with itchy ears and other annoying symptoms was getting so annoying that he felt that he should change his diet and start a health kick. After cutting down on some of his favorite foods like white bread and ice cream, he saw a big improvement in his itchy ear problem within just a couple weeks. Interestingly enough, his itchy ears came back after he went off his diet and had some of his daughter's birthday cake. John is now convinced that he has an allergic reaction to too much white sugar and flour. He still eats junk food on occasion, but he says his ears start itching soon afterward. While many people would rather do anything than give up cookies and candy, you might experience some relief from the constant ear itching if you eat less sugar, maybe even substituting it when you can with raw honey.

What to do for itchy ears: itchy ears treatment

Luckily for all those sugar addicts out there, there are some other things you can try to treat your dry itchy ears. Whatever you do, don't resort to sticking Q-tips and pens in your ears to soothe the itch! Your relief will only be temporary, and the itching will come back soon with a vengeance. If you have dry ears, then sticking a Q-tip in your ear will only make your ears more dry, causing your ears to itch even more. Sometimes people can actually cure their itchy ears problem by just stop cleaning their dry ears constantly with Q-tips. For others, there is an itchy ear remedy you might consider trying.

Good Cures & Natural Home remedy for dry itchy ears

If you have dry itchy ears, sometimes adding some more moisture to the ear canal can really help. While some people might suggest that you put Vaseline or lotion in your ears, these kind of mainstream skin care products are full of possibly harmful chemicals like petrolatum that can cause unknown side effects to your health. If you want a natural remedy for itchy ears, you have to try the substances that nature offers for moisturizing, like coconut oil, aloe vera, and especially beeswax.

Good Itchy Ear Beeswax Sunburn Cure Recipe

Much like an ear problem, sunburn starts out hurting and ends up itching! Many people aren't aware of the fact that beeswax is one of the best natural itch relief remedies out there, very good at providing fast itch relief for healing sunburns, poison ivy, mosquito bites, etc. Instead of using chemical itch relief sprays, you can actually make a beeswax itch relief cure right in your own home to soothe your itchy ears. To make your home itch relief remedy, use the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chickweed powder
  • 1 tablespoon comfrey power
  • 1 pint organic olive oil
  • 2 ounces raw beeswax

To make this itchy cure at home, all you have to do is simmer the chickweed, comfrey and olive oil for about 3 hours, and then add your raw beeswax. After that, strain, cool and store! While this homeopathic itch cure is pretty good, not everybody has chickweed and raw beeswax on hand in their home. What do you do if you don't want to go through the hassle of making a natural itch solution yourself?

Is Pure Beeswax Good to Use for Hair?

There are a lot of uses for beeswax. You can use beeswax for moisturizing dry skin or chapped lips, to make organic candles, to wax your surfboard, and even for your hair. Yes, you heard right: many people use beeswax on their hair! But is pure beeswax good to use for hair?

Beeswax Products for African American and Natural Hair

People have been using pure beeswax to moisturize and style their hair for a long time. Very popular natural hair product among African American men and women, many people will argue that beeswax hair products like Murray's Beeswax are a good and useful way to slick down dry, curly, frizzy, or flyaway hair whether you are black or white, man or woman. But is beeswax really good to use for your hair? The short answer is yes. Here are a few reasons why beeswax is a good natural alternative for many hair gels, pomades and hair styling products.

Beeswax Hair Products for Men and Women: Benefits of Beeswax for Hair

Most pomade, hair gel, and hair products you will buy in the store to style your hair are chocked full of artificial and harsh chemicals. African American women who straighten their hair often use natural hair relaxers and straighteners that rely on the use of strong chemicals to flatten their naturally curly hair. After their natural hair is straightened, most women will continue to apply more styling products full of chemicals to their hair every day to keep their hair shiny, sleek and smooth. That is a lot of harsh chemicals to absorb through the skin of your scalp or breathe in through your nose and mouth on a daily basis.

No matter how bad or harmful hair relaxers and straighteners might be, many curly haired women will never agree to give up their hair straighteners and relaxers. While you still will come into contact with potentially harmful chemicals whenever you get your hair professionally straightened or relaxed, switching over to natural hair care alternatives like beeswax is a good way to cut out a lot of chemicals from your daily beauty routine. Since beeswax is a pure substance derived from nature, you won't get chemical headaches or a nauseous, sick feeling from using beeswax on your hair.

Best Natural Hair Products with Beeswax: MoreNature Bee Salve

Many people will recommend Murray's Beeswax natural hair products. However, many customers have complained that the primary ingredient in Murray's Beeswax hair products is not beeswax but actually petrolatum, an artificial petroleum based substance often used as a cheap and potentially harmful ingredient in chapstick and other skin care products. When you get past the good marketing, Murray's Beeswax Hair Products aren't that natural or good for you.

MoreNature's 100% pure bee salve is the best way to moisturize your dry skin and smooth down your frizzy or flyaway hair. Containing no artificial ingredients or scents, the base of MoreNature's limited ingredient bee salve is actually 100% pure Florida raw beeswax. Additional ingredients like coconut oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and beta carotene are the best ways for naturally moisturizing dry skin or hair, so it's not only OK if the bee salve absorbs into the skin on your head, it's actually good for you and your health. MoreNature bee salve offers options for men and women, allowing you to choose between an unscented fragrance free bee salve or an organic lavender scent.

How to Apply & Remove Beeswax from Natural Hair

Sometimes beeswax is a little too good at flattening out curly or frizzly hair. If you've ever accidentally gotten too much beeswax lotion on your hands, you know how long the moisturizing lasts. It's hard to get rid of. When using MoreNature bee salve as a hair pomade or hair sealant, APPLY SPARINGLY! You can moisturize your hands and hair at the same time by applying a little bee salve into the palm of your hand and then smoothing your hair with your hands. Using too much beeswax can make your curly hair too greasy and weighed down.

If you do get too much beeswax in your hair, it won't be easy to remove, so the best way to apply bee salve to hair is to start out very light and keep adding until you get the effect you want. The best way to remove beeswax from hair is by simply washing with a strong natural shampoo followed by a good conditioner until you get the desired results. If you get too much beeswax in your hair, baking soda is also a good way to remove excess buildup from hair.

Is Burts Bees Really Natural? Are Burts Bees Ingredients Good?

If you've ever been to a Target, you've probably seen Burt's Bees chapstick on the impulse buy rack near the checkout counter. Burt's Bees is a big name in the beeswax lip balm and chapstick industry. Customers ask us about the quality of Burt's Bees "natural" skin care products all the time. Many people automatically associate Burt's Bees cute little bee logo with natural skin and lip care, but is Burt's Bees really natural? Are the ingredients used in Burt's Bees really good for you?

Many people think Burt's Bees is a grassroots company that one day made it big, and in many ways these people are right. Burt's Bees started out as a small local company in Maine back in the 1980s firmly dedicated to offering customers natural and "earth friendly" skin and lip care products.

While Burt's Bees started out strong, once they started getting success they (like so many natural companies) shifted their focus away from the quality of their products, putting more attention on increasing profits and turning their company into a large corporation. Many people aren't aware of this, but back in 2007 Clorox officially bought out and took over Burt's Bees.

Is Burt's Bees Really Natural?

I don't know about you, but I definitely don't associate Clorox bleach with natural lip and skin care. In fact, I can't really think of many products less natural or worse on your skin than bleach, but that's just personal opinion. How has the Clorox takeover affected the ingredients used in Burt's Bees natural and healthy skin care line (if at all)? Is Burt's Bees really natural?

Burts Bees Ingredients

The primary ingredient in Burt's Bees chapstick is at least still beeswax, one of the best moisturizers found in nature. In fact, most of the ingredients listed on Burt's Bees website look good, with coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and rosemary leaf all very natural ingredients. The ingredients used in Burt's Bees look good at first glance, but it's the ingredients at the end of the list that are a little bit more questionable and obscure. What is lanolin? What is limonene? Tocopherol?

What is Limonene?

Limonene Limonene is a natural essential oil found in orange peel. Limonene is basically the thing that gives oranges their strong, pungent citrus smell.

What is Tocopherol?

Tocopherol is another Burt's Bees ingredients that is natural and isn't really that bad. Related to Vitamin E, tocopherol is found in many vegetables and foods like spinach and nuts.

What is Lanolin? Hint: Burt's Bees Chapstick is not Vegan

Lanolin While still classified as a natural ingredient, lanolin is also known as "wool grease" and is an oil secreted from the fur of wool-bearing animals like sheep. Animal byproducts sound like a yummy ingredient to put on your lips, right? Also, don't let anybody tell you that Burt's Bees skin care products are vegan or even vegetarian.

Soybean Oil and Canola Oil: Low Quality "Filler" Ingredients

If you listen to alternative health experts, many of them will tell you that soybean and canola oil aren't really good for you. In fact, the canola plant didn't even exist before 1974 and has never existed in nature. Burt's Bees products include more of these low quality oils so they can include less of the good ingredients like beeswax and coconut oil, that are actually good for you and of course more expensive. Including less of the good stuff and more fillers allows Burt's Bees to keep a good reputation while cutting corners where they can when it comes to offering high quality ingredients.

The Best Natural Beeswax Lip Balm

Is Burt's Bees really natural? Strictly speaking, yes, Burt's Bees ingredients are still natural and don't include any of the really bad chapstick ingredients. However, questionable ingredients used in Burt's Bees chapstick like canola oil are starting to blur the line between natural and artificial. As you might expect, though, the Clorox buyout of Burt's Bees has affected the company's ingredients list. The price of Burt's Bees beeswax chapstick is only a few cents cheaper than MoreNature's 100% natural beeswax lip balm. Why not pay less than a dollar more for vegan, all natural beeswax lip balm made from 100% pure beeswax and organic coconut oil?

Best Soap for Men: Mens Organic Bar Soap & Natural Aromatherapy Soap

If you're looking for the best soap for men, you should check out ByValenti skin care lines. Danielle may be a woman, but she and her aromatherapy experts take into account what ingredients work with a man's pheromones, hormone levels and biology. Men and women are different, so why should we use the same bar soap?

Let's face it: a lot of skin care products are specifically marketed and made for women. You can go to any online or store pharmacy and find tons of Strawberry Banana or Pina Colada scented soaps and cleansers that women love to use, but it's a little more difficult to find scents and soaps designed just for males, especially if these men want natural or organic soap options.

Best Bar Soap for Men that Women Love, Too

From what I've seen, Danielle & Company's Manly Man and Modern Man skin care lines offer some of the best bar soap, body wash, and lotion men can buy. Made with well over half organic ingredients and 100% all natural ingredients, the organic Manly Man and Modern Man bar soaps are both made specifically for men, but just like there are different personalities of guys out there, there are also different organic soaps for these men, too.

Fragrance Free Unscented Bar Soap: Pheromones, No Artificial Scents

When you can find soap for men in the store or online, it's usually full of overpowering artificial scents and fragrances. Not only can these fake fragrances sometimes be actually nauseating to smell, but breathing in these strong artificial scents is also not that good for your health. If you're sick of the overpowering artificial fragrances used in bar soap, you and your wife or girlfriend will love the subtly masculine scents of Modern Man and Manly Man bar soap. The light natural scents used by Danielle & Company are designed to blend in and augment male pheromones, the natural scent that makes men attractive to women in the first place!

Organic Bar Soap for Men: Holistic Natural Remedy for Oily Skin & Acne

Modern Man organic bar soap is part of the Elevate Mood Collection, featuring an uplifting recipe of organic melon, oakmoss, and neroli designed by aromatherapy experts to raise your spirits and boost your confidence. Best for young men, the organic ingredients in Modern Man are good for young men or teens with oily, sensitive skin or facial acne problems. Unlike some harsh cleansers that use strong chemicals to clean oily skin, Modern Man is a natural remedy that will not irritate the sensitive skin on the face. Unlike most paraben or petroleum based soaps that are sometimes the cause of skin allergies, Danielle & Company uses only organic shea butter as the base of her natural bar soap.

Natural Mood Aromatherapy Soaps for Men with Sandlewood & Cedarwood Oil

Manly Man organic bar soap, on the other hand, is part of the Sensual Mood soap line and offers men a spicy mix of cedarwood, sandalwood, and musk essential oils that male and female customers love. Designed for an older and more mature audience, Manly Man offers an organic aromatherapy soap that lives up to its sexy name. Manly Man bar soap for men uses an organic mix of essential oils that together make up a natural aphrodisiac! Manly Man is a customer favorite and makes a fun anniversary gift.

Best Homeopathic Paraben Free Soap for Men

Whether you just want to mix up your skin care routine or want to adopt a more natural and healthier lifestyle, Danielle and Company's Modern Man and Manly Man organic skin care lines should be at the top of the list when it comes to the best bar soap for men. Using age old homeopathic and aromatherapy principle, you can tell this organic bar soap is top notch. Danielle & Company also offers organic body wash and paraben free lotion for men.

Sun Protection Factor: What SPF Should I Use & When to Wear Sunscreen

We all want to spend as many hours out in the sun as possible during the hot summer months, especially if you live here in Florida. While afternoons and mornings spent by the pool or at the beach can be fun, we also have to make sure we are properly protected when we're in the sun. What is SPF and what SPF should you use? When should you wear sunscreen? How much sunscreen should you use? What type of sunblock is best?

Reasons to Wear Sunscreen

You might be wondering, "Why do I need to use sunscreen?" There are a lot of popular misconceptions out there about when to wear sunscreen, what kind you should use, and what SPF is best. Follow our guide to learn the truth about sunscreen and the best tips to how to use it to protect you from developing skin cancer, which is one of the best reasons to wear sunscreen.

What is SPF & Sun Protection Factor?

No matter what sunblock you buy, somewhere on the label it will probably say SPF and then some number, usually 30. What is SPF? SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor." Basically, your sunscreen's Sun Protection Factor lets you know how long you can stay out in the sun without getting a sunburn.

SPF x the number of minutes it takes for you to get a sunburn

example: SPF 30 x 20 minutes= 600 minutes (10 hours) without burning

Sun Protection Factor is determined by the simple equation shown above. How long does it usually take for you to get a sunburn? If you have very light skin, you can get a sunburn in as little as 20 minutes. If you use the right amount of SPF 30 sunblock, this equation suggest that you can stay in the sun up to 10 hours without getting a sunburn. While that might be true in some cases, it is still a good idea to reapply more sunscreen every couple of hours when you're spending a long day in the sun. The sun can break down your sunblock very quickly, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

What SPF Sunscreen Should I Use (High? Low?)

When looking at the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) equation above, you may be wondering what SPF sunscreen you should use. This is a tricky question that sparks a lot of debate and controversy in the sunscreen and healthcare community. It is popular belief that the lighter skin you have, the higher SPF you should use to protect your skin from UV rays and sun damage. Unfortunately, the higher SPF sunscreen you use, the more exposed you are to potentially harmful oxybenzone, a chemical used in most sunscreens. Health researchers have found that sunscreens with a sun protection factor over 50 don't offer much more UV protection and are generally more expensive. According to a study conducted by CNN, your best bet is to use a sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50.

What Type of Sunscreen Should I Use?

Without a doubt, the best kind of sunblock is organic biodegradable sunscreen. Despite growing concerns, the FDA and many mainstream healthcare experts in the United States have still not officially recognized the dangers of oxybenzone, but we still feel it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this potentially harmful chemical. Organic sunscreen contains no oxybenzone, retinyl palminate, paraben, petrolatum, or artificial ingredients and is also waterproof. Instead of using chemicals like oxybenzone or benzophenone to increase your sun protection factor, MoreNature organic sunscreen uses natural minerals like zinc oxide to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.

When to Use Sunscreen: When It's Sunny, When it's Cloudy, In the Water, and in the Car

Sunscreen in cloudy weather and in the water Another popular misconception about sunblock is when you need to use it. Some people think, "Hey, it's overcast and cloudy today, so I'll be fine without sunscreen." Worse than that, some people think that swimming and being in the water will protect them from a sunburn, forgetting that water is transparent and most of the time their heads and arms are not underwater. Make you sure wear an organic waterproof sunscreen when you spend a day at the pool or beach, even when it's cloudy.

Wear Sunscreen in the Car Another time that people forget they need to use sunscreen is in the car. If you have a long commute to work each day, you may not realize that your left arm will spend a lot of time in full exposure to the sun each day. Health researchers have linked the development of skin cancer and melanoma in the left arm to drivers with long commutes. Make sure you use sunscreen before taking a long road trip this summer!

How Much Sunblock Should I Wear?

One of the last questions we want to address is how much sunscreen you should use when you're in the sun. Health experts recommend that you use about 2 ounces of sunblock (about a shot glass full) when you're going to be out in the sun all day. That might sound like a lot of sunscreen to use, but you'll be surprised how much sunscreen you use when you rub it in to your faces, arms, legs, and back.

Remember to Wear Sunscreen!

Now you know what Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is, What SPF sunscreen you should use, what type of sunblock is best (organic always), when to use sunscreen (always), and how much you should use. When it comes to sunscreen, it might be best to remember the lyrics to "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen," that old Baz Luhrmann graduation song: "If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it."

Organic & Inorganic Iodine: Natural Sources of Non Radioactive Iodine

There's a lot of vitamins and minerals that we've heard of and we know we should be taking on a daily basis, but we're not really sure why. Iodine is one of these minerals. Learn about why we need to supplement our diets with iodine, some natural sources and foods with iodine, the different types of iodine (organic and inorganic), and what type is best for you (non radioactive).

Why Women Need Iodine, Iodine Deficiency Symptoms & Breast Cancer

Why do we need to take iodine? Every cell in the human body needs iodine to survive, but our we can't produce iodine ourselves, so that means we have to take iodine in order to maintain the best level of health.

Iodine deficiency is a tricky health issue to diagnose. Unfortunately, women are particularly at risk, as iodine deficiency has been linked to breast cancer. It is estimated that 1 out of 7 American women suffer from an iodine deficiency, exhibiting symptoms including general lack of energy, hair loss, depression, inability to lose weight, brain fog, feeling cold and even heartburn. By adding more iodine to your diet, you will lower your chances of breast cancer, feel healthier both mentally and physically, lose weight more easily, and even help protect yourself from nuclear radioactivity and radiation poisoning. What types of iodine should you take?

Types of Iodine: What's the Difference Between Inorganic & Organic Iodine? Radioactivity

The difference between organic and inorganic iodine is confusing to many people. Is iodine organic or inorganic? Iodine can be both types. When we hear the word "organic," we automatically think of certified organic foods, but inorganic iodine is not less clean or somehow more unhealthy for you than organic iodine. In fact, the opposite is true.

Unlike organic fruits and vegetables, organic iodine is radioactive and very harmful and dangerous to humans, capable of severally damaging your thyroid gland. Without getting too scientific, iodine-129 and iodine-131 are organic radioactive isotopes formed in fuel rods during nuclear fission. When a human is exposed to these types of radioactive organic iodine, it builds up in the thyroid and can actually kill you. Radioactivity and nuclear radiation are obviously bad for human health and life, so you definitely don't want to take an "organic iodine supplement."

Inorganic Non-Radioactive Iodine for Thyroid

Inorganic iodine, on the other hand, is the "good kind" of iodine that can actually protect you from the bad organic type. Non radioactive iodine won't build up in your thyroid gland over time. Unlike a buildup of radioactive organic iodine, your body can naturally get rid of any excess non radioactive inorganic iodine through the kidneys and urine within 24 hours.

If you are going into an area with a high radiation level, doctors recommend that you eat plenty of iodine rich foods and even take a non radioactive inorganic iodine supplement like Iodoral. If your thyroid is already full of inorganic iodine, then it won't be able to absorb as much organic iodine, lessening your chances of radiation poisoning. Inorganic iodine supplements were actually administered during the Japanese nuclear disaster. While the accident was terrible, the Japanese were actually quite lucky that they already follow iodine rich diets, eating lots of seaweed and seafood.

List of Best Foods With Iodine & Iodine Rich Foods: Natural Sources of Inorganic Iodine

What foods are the best natural sources of inorganic iodine? Health experts have found a link between the low occurrence of iodine deficiency in Japan and the high consumption of seaweed there (think sushi). Seafood like seaweed, fish, and shellfish are naturally iodine rich foods because non radioactive inorganic iodine naturally found in the ocean accumulates in these foods over time.

Iodine in Food: Iodized Salt?

Along with seafood, you might be surprised to hear that yogurt, a natural probiotic, is actually very rich in inorganic iodine, providing 58% of your daily needs. Mothers will be happy to hear that breast milk is another natural source of iodine, so it's important to get more iodine while you're breast feeding so your baby gets iodine, too. Eggs, navy beans, cranberries, strawberries, mozzarella cheese, and cow's milk are also good natural sources of iodine. Though full of starch, potatoes are also high in iodine, especially when you leave the skin on. To get the most health benefits and inorganic iodine, go for organic versions of the foods listed above (confusing, I know).

Iodized salt is a dispute in the healthcare community. Some health experts say go for the iodized salt to make up for the iodine you're missing out on in your daily diet, others say the synthetic iodine added to table salt is difficult for the body to process and that organic non iodized sea salt is best. Organic uniodized sea salt is chocked full of natural vitamins and minerals instead of chemical processed low grade iodine.

Benefits of Iodine & Inorganic Non-Radioactive Iodine Supplements

If you are vegan or want to get more iodine in your diet in addition to eating iodine rich foods, try an inorganic non-radioactive iodine supplement.  Iodoral iodine supplements were both administered by doctors after the Japanese nuclear disaster to cut down on the dangers of radiation poisoning.

As you can see, the benefits of iodine are hard to list all in one place. By supplementing your diet with daily iodine intake, men and women can look and feel better, and women can cut down on your chances of breast cancer. Inorganic iodine is also a natural protector that can help shield you from the dangers of nuclear radioactivity & radiation. Lucky for you, there is a long list of iodine rich foods and iodine supplements to help you get the amount you need each day.

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